Winchester 'best place to live in UK'

Winchester Cathedral Image copyright PA
Image caption Weekly earnings in Winchester were found to be 27% higher than the UK average

Winchester is the best place to live in the UK in terms of quality of life, a study has found.

Scotland's Orkney Islands took second place, while Wychavon in Worcestershire came third in the Halifax study.

It looked at a range of factors including life expectancy, health and employment rates.

One key measure was Winchester's weekly earnings which, at £824, were found to be 27% higher than the UK average of £646.

Image copyright Bob Jones
Image caption Orkney was named the best place to live in Scotland, and second best in the UK
Image copyright Jon Wornham
Image caption The Wychavon district in Worcestershire, which is home to the town of Droitwich Spa and its barge canal which opened in 1771, was named third in the study

The Derbyshire Dales, Hambleton in North Yorkshire, South Cambridgeshire, Purbeck in Dorset, St Albans in Hertfordshire, Wokingham in Berkshire and Chiltern in Buckinghamshire also featured in the top 10.

Winchester: An alternative guide to the 'best place to live in UK'

Crime, education, broadband access, population densities and the weather were also taken into account in the study.

Image copyright Peter Barr
Image caption The Derbyshire Dales, featuring the market town of Bakewell and Derbyshire's county town Matlock, came fourth in the poll
Image copyright Steve Fareham
Image caption Fifth in the study was Hambleton in North Yorkshire, where Northallerton is the main town and administrative centre

The study found 96.6% of Winchester residents reported being in good or fairly good health, compared to a national average of 94.6%.

Life expectancy rates in Winchester were also higher than the national average, with men in the city expected to live to about 82 and women to about 85.

Crime rates in the city were also found to be among the lowest in the country.

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption South Cambridgeshire, which is home to the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, came sixth in the study
Image copyright Phil Champion
Image caption Seventh in the survey was Purbeck in Dorset where Old Harry Rocks can be found

Hart in Hampshire - a former winner of the annual study over the past five years - fell to 26.

Halifax said one reason for this was the inclusion of two new categories in its research - the number of pubs and the availability of health clubs and leisure centres.

Image copyright Nick MacNeill
Image caption St Albans in Hertfordshire was eighth on the list
Image copyright Stehen McKay
Image caption The market town of Wokingham in Berkshire came ninth in the survey

Almost two-thirds of the top 50 best places to live are in southern England, according to the research.

Places outside southern England which appear on the list include Monmouthshire in Wales, Harrogate in Yorkshire and Rugby in Warwickshire.

The research also found the highest weekly average earnings of £1,273 were in London's Kensington and Chelsea.

Towns and cities in Northern Ireland missed out on inclusion in the top 50, but the survey's authors said Mid and East Antrim had the highest quality of life out of all the country's regions.

Image copyright Nigel Cox
Image caption The district of Chiltern in Buckinghamshire, where the main towns are Amersham and Chesham (pictured), was number 10 on the list

The lowest average annual rainfall of 525mm (20.6in) was in Castle Point, Essex, while the sunniest place was the Isle of Wight, where residents enjoyed an average of 36.9 hours of sunshine a week compared to the national average of 29.7.

The largest homes were in Uttlesford in Essex, Chiltern and Rutland, while the smallest were in the City of London, Tower Hamlets, and Westminster.

Meanwhile, Eden in Cumbria had the highest number of pubs per 10,000 adults at 28.3, followed by the Derbyshire Dales at 26.7, against a national average of 10.1.

Top 20 places:

  1. Winchester, Hampshire
  2. Orkney Islands, Scotland
  3. Wychavon, Worcestershire
  4. Derbyshire Dales
  5. Hambleton, North Yorkshire
  6. South Cambridgeshire
  7. Purbeck, Dorset
  8. St Albans, Hertfordshire
  9. Wokingham, Berkshire
  10. Chiltern, Buckinghamshire
  11. West Oxfordshire
  12. South Hams, Devon
  13. South Oxfordshire
  14. Tonbridge and Malling, in Kent
  15. West Dorset
  16. South Northamptonshire
  17. Waverley, in Surrey
  18. Shetland Islands, Scotland
  19. Horsham, in West Sussex
  20. City of London

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